France

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DOING BUSINESS

 


Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

The French Government Agency for International Investment is the primary source of information for investment incentive matters.
New businesses, for instance specialised in industrial, commercial or craft sectors can benefit from a temporary profits tax exemption. They can also be exempted from Professional and Property and Land tax for 2 years. Research and Development companies can benefit from tax credit attributable on income tax or company tax. Regional aids are granted, in regional bonus, to new businesses with less than 12 months of activity and creating a minimum number of jobs drawn up by the Regional council. The National Agency of Valuation of Research (ANVAR) provides with financial support to innovative plans, transfers of technology, for young or independent inventors. New businesses (less than one year of activity or in the process of setting-up) can be subsidised up to 50% of their expenses. The agency for New business start-up (APCE) provides with information and advice to set up or take over a business.

 

Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
The "entreprise individuelle" is a Sole Proprietorship. 1 person No notion of capital. The entrepreneur is liable for the company debts on his personal assets. None No
La Societe à responsabilite limitée (SARL) is a Private Limited Company Minimum 2 partners. Maximum 50 partners. A minimum of 7,500 € is required but only 20% must be released at the incorporation and the rest within 5 years Liability is limited to the amount contributed. About 420 € Yes
The EURL is Sole Proprietorship Private Limited Company 1 person A minimum of 7,500 € is required but only 20% must be released at the set-up and the remainder within 5 years Liability is limited to the amount contributed. About 420 € Yes
La Societe Anonyme (SA) is a Public Limited Company Minimum 7 shareholders Minimum 37,000 € and release of at least 50% at the set up and the remainder within 5 years. Liability is limited to the amount contributed. About 420 € Yes
La Societe civile par actions simplifiée is a joint-stock company simplified. 1 person, personal or professional body Minimum 37,000 € and release of at least 50% at the set up and the remainder within 5 years. Liability is limited to the amount contributed. Yes
La Societe en Nom Collectif (SNC) is a General Partnership. Minimum 2 partners. No minimum capital. Partners' liability is several and indefinite. No
La Societe en Commandite par actions is a Partnership Limited by Shares Two types of partners: active partners and sleeping partners. No minimum capital. Active partners' liability is indefinite and several.
Liability of sleeping partners is limited to the amount contributed.
N/A
Civil Company. Minimum 2 partners. No minimum capital. Members are jointly liable for social debts. No

Registration and licensing procedures
To set up a business in France, certain formalities are required. Concerning the drawing up of status, a search for anteriority with the INPI is advised to check that the company's registered name is not being used.

Legal framework
The Trade code, the Civil code, the General Tax code control company creation.

Foreign exchange control
No limitation on repatriation of capitals or profits, however an authorization from the Bank of France is required.

Regulations concerning equity investment
A majority holding interest in the capital of a local company by a foreign investor is legal in France.  


Foreign Direct Investment inflows in France

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
2005
FDI inflows (USD million) 42 498 31 371 63 576 80/141
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.

 

Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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